President Barack Obama’s schedule is likely to undergo a change and he may now depart from Agra instead of Delhi as authorities have examined the feasibility of his Air Force One aircraft landing in the city of Taj Mahal.
Obama, who will be the Chief Guest for the Republic Day, is likely to fly to Agra by the Air Force One on the morning of January 27 to visit Taj Mahal and leave directly from there, official sources said here today.
According to the sources, Air Force One is likely to land at Agra’s Indian Air Force base.
The sources said discussions were on to firm this up after a feasibility report favoured landing of the Boeing 747-200B series aircraft at the airfield which has served as a major airbase for Allied forces during the World War-II.
Air Force One is a Boeing 747-200B plane customised by the US Secret Services for the US President.
According to earlier schedule, Obama was to fly to Agra in Marine One, official helicopter of the US President, and later return to Delhi for his departure.
Meanwhile, Indian and US officials have reached an agreement that Obama will arrive at Rajpath to witness the Republic Day parade in his own official car ‘Beast’, marking a departure from tradition wherein a guest travels to the venue with the host President.
His official car will form a part of the convoy of President Pranab Mukherjee when he arrives at Rajpath escorted by President’s bodyguards riding impeccably-trained horses.
Earlier exception was made in 2007 when Russian President Vladmir Putin was the Chief Guest at the Republic Day. He travelled in his own car which formed part of the then President A P J Abdul Kalam’s convoy.
A team of Indian doctors will also form part of the US Presidential convoy, the sources said.
Seven Belgian Malinois dogs, who have distinction of being part of Osama bin Laden’s Navy Seals hunt team, have arrived already ahead the visit of the VVIP.